NES 4537

NES 4537

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2018-2019.

This course offers a broad survey of contemporary Shi'i beliefs, practices, and politics with a focus on Twelver or Imami Shi'ism. Through a close examination of ethnographies, intellectual and political histories, theological writings, and more we will investigate the themes which define the politics and cultural practices of contemporary Shi'ism. In particular, we will highlight the ways in which Shi'is utilize their theological beliefs to negotiate and respond to the socio-political context of the times in which they live.  The course begins by examining the early days of what would later be called "Shi'ism." We then examine the key theological concepts which distinguish Shi'ism from Sunnism, including themes of adalat (divine justice), shahadat (martyrdom), the Karbala paradigm, and the role of the imamate and clerical class. The rest of course is devoted to investigating the ways that Shi'ism informs and interacts with the social realm and vice versa, ranging from negotiations of the everyday to responding to moments of great civil and society unrest and to that which is called "sectarianism". Travelling from South Asia to the Middle East, from Africa to America, we will ultimately examine how Shi'i beliefs and identity act as a dynamic force for shaping the worlds in which they live today.

When Offered Fall.

Breadth Requirement (GB)
Distribution Category (CA-AS)
Course Attribute (CU-ITL)

Comments Co-meets with ANTHR 7637/NES 6537/RELST 6537.

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Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  • 16974NES 4537  SEM 101